The start of the year was an exciting time for YMCA Milton Keynes. After years of planning and fundraising, we were finally able to move into our new state-of-the-art campus. Not only would it enable us to provide housing to a larger number of local young people, but we’d also be able to provide the additional support and services that they need – life skills, counselling, career advice, etc.
The big day finally arrived in March and we were thrilled to be in our new home. We had so much planned and we couldn’t wait to get going. But a week later, we found ourselves in lockdown and faced with a situation that we could never have prepared for or imagined.
The way in which our staff and residents responded to the pandemic is testament to the community spirit that we’re building here on North 6th Street. Everyone pulled together and adapted quickly. Our face-to-face services moved online, and we continued to safely provide vital support to our young people. While our social enterprise cafe, HomeGround, had to close to the public, it continued to provide meals for our young residents. For every challenge we faced, a solution was found.
So how did we manage to ride the coronavirus wave this year? I think it comes down to one word – resilience. The effort made by our staff this year was phenomenal and I’m incredibly proud of the committed team we have here at YMCA Milton Keynes. But our residents also showed a great deal of resilience, which is hardly surprising given that the people we support have already faced many challenges and difficulties in their lives. Supported by our fantastic team of staff, we made sure that all our residents could continue to thrive despite this year’s challenges.
Here is a snapshot of the ways in which we helped our residents between July and November this year:
- Our campus has been home to 276 young people
- 1,546 evening meals were served by HomeGround to residents in Supported housing
- 810 hours of activity were provided to help our residents engage, learn, and develop
- 102 counselling sessions were attended by our residents to support their mental health
- Since we started offering employment support in June, we have supported 15 young people with both finding and maintaining a job.
As we look ahead to 2021, we have much to look forward to. The doors to our HomeGround café will be open once again and we can’t wait to welcome back our customers. In the spring we’ll be launching our new three-year strategy and we’ll also be celebrating our 40th birthday! No doubt there will be further challenges along the way, but our young people will continue to remain at the heart of all that we do.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the organisations and people who have supported us this year. The pandemic has been detrimental in so many ways, so we are incredibly grateful for the help we have received.
On behalf of everyone at YMCA Milton Keynes, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!